James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones Headshot

Actor

Birth Name: Todd Jones

Birth Date: January 17, 1931

Age: 93 years old

Birth Place: Arkabutla, Mississippi

With his deep resonant voice and imposing physical presence, James Earl Jones became one of the most easily recognizable figures in the entertainment industry. A native of Arkabutla, Mississippi, he spent most of his childhood in Michigan living with his grandparents. The move north was such a jarring event, that he developed a severe stutter and barely spoke until high school. With help, Jones overcame the stutter as a teenager and became involved in artistic pursuits.

A theater major at the University of Michigan, he served in the military as an officer immediately after graduating. Once his service ended, he relocated to New York to pursue acting. He soon began appearing regularly both on and off Broadway. His voice and stature made him a natural for the lead role in Shakespeare's "Othello," a part that he would play in several productions throughout his career. He made his film debut when Stanley Kubrick cast him as a bombardier in his satire "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" (1965). He had a prominent role in "The Comedians" (1967) opposite Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, but his biggest break was still in the offing.

Jones took the part of boxer Jack Johnson in the Broadway production of "The Great White Hope," earning a Tony award and critical acclaim. He went on to star in the 1970 film version, picking up an Academy Award nomination. Firmly established as an actor, he worked steadily from then on in film, television and stage. In the mid-1970s, a young filmmaker named George Lucas cast Jones as the voice of the villain in his sci-fi adventure "Star Wars" (1977). The character, Darth Vader, would become one of the greatest bad guys in history, and Jones continued providing the character's voice through the initial two sequels, "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) and "Return of the Jedi" (1983), as well as a variety of ancillary projects over the subsequent decades.

His voice became perhaps his greatest calling card, with his basso profundo closely associated with ads for Bell Atlantic/Verizon and on-air promotion for cable news giant CNN. While he worked regularly in film and on television, including starring in the short-lived series "Me and Mom" (CBS, 1985), he enjoyed an on-screen renaissance in the late-'80s. He played the African king father of Eddie Murphy in the blockbuster comedy "Coming to America" (1988). He then memorably joined Kevin Costner for the sentimental baseball film "Field of Dreams" (1989) playing reclusive writer Terence Mann.

His soliloquy from the movie extolling the virtues of baseball would be played for years to come at stadiums across the country. In the '90s, he tried his hand again at series television, starring in "Gabriel's Fire" (ABC, 1990-91) and a reworking of the premise called "Pros and Cons" (ABC, 1991-92). His voice, though, would again make a bigger impact. Disney cast the actor as Mufasa, the leader of a lion pride and father of the protagonist Simba, in the animated hit "The Lion King" (1994). As with Darth Vader, Jones became so closely aligned with the character that he was asked to provide the voice again for Jon Favreau's blockbuster remake of the film in 2019.

When not appearing on screen, the actor returned regularly to the stage, including a starring role in the initial Broadway run of August Wilson's acclaimed play "Fences." Jones later returned to familiar territory once more, joining Murphy for the long-gestating sequel "Coming 2 America" (2020).

Credits

Coming 2 AmericaStream

Actor
King Jaffe Joffer
Movie
2021
49%

The Space: Theatre Of Survival

Actor
Show
2020

Beyoncé & James Earl Jones: Spirit + Bigger (Extended Cut From Disney's The Lion King)

Music Performer
Show
2019

The Lion KingStream

Voice
Mufasa
Movie
2019
52%

Warning Shot

Actor
Pendleton
Movie
2018

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryStream

Voice
Darth Vader
Movie
2016
84%

The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar

Voice
Mufasa
Movie
2015

Star Wars RebelsStream

Guest Star
Darth Vader
Series
2014
98%

Gimme Shelter

Actor
Frank McCarthy
Movie
2014

The Angriest Man in BrooklynStream

Actor
Ruben
Movie
2014
9%

Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy

Narrator
Show
2013

Muse Of Fire: A Shakespearean Road Movie

Guest
Show
2013

PBS NewsHour Weekend

Guest
Show
2013

North Pole Promise

Narrator
Show
2013

Disney's American Legends

Actor
Show
2012

The Gayle King Show

Guest
Show
2011

Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey

Voice
Admiral
Movie
2010

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon

Guest
Talk
2009

The Magic 7

Voice
5-Toe
Show
2009

Jack and the Beanstalk

Voice
The Giant
Movie
2009

The Wendy Williams Show

Guest
Talk
2008

The Clinton 12

Narrator
Show
2008

Welcome Home Roscoe JenkinsStream

Actor
Papa Jenkins
Movie
2008
23%

The Big Bang TheoryStream

Guest Star
James Earl Jones
Series
2007
81%

Earth

Narrator
Movie
2007

Rachael Ray ShowStream

Guest
Talk
2006

The Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy

Narrator
Movie
2006

Tina Turner: One Last Time Live in Concert

Voice
Announcer
Show
2005

The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson

Guest
Talk
2005

Ultimate Super Heroes, Ultimate Super Villains, Ultimate Super Vixens

Actor
Interviewee
Movie
2005

RobotsStream

Voice
Voice box at hardware store
Movie
2005
64%

The Sandlot 2

Actor
Mr. Mertle
Movie
2005

The Reading Room

Actor
William
Movie
2005

HouseStream

Guest Star
Dibala
Series
2004
90%

The Great Year

Narrator
Movie
2004

Two and a Half MenStream

Guest Star
James Earl Jones
Series
2003
65%

Casting Calls

Guest
Show
2003

Black Indians: An American Story

Host
Show
2003

EverwoodStream

Guest Star
Series
2002
93%

The Feast of All Saints

Actor
Show
2001

According to JimStream

Guest Star
Series
2001

Live With Regis and Kelly

Guest
Show
2001

Black Indians: An American Story

Narrator
Movie
2001

Finder's FeeStream

Actor
Avery Phillips
Movie
2001
60%

Tina Tuner: One Last Time Live in Concert

Voice
Announcer
Show
2000

Antietam: A Documentary Drama

Narrator
Movie
2000

Our Friend, Martin

Voice
Daddy King
Movie
1999

Summer's End

Actor
Dr. William "Bill" Blakely
Movie
1999

Santa and Pete

Actor
Grandpa Nicholas
Movie
1999

Undercover Angel

Actor
The Judge
Movie
1999

Fantasia 2000

Voice
Himself (Host) (segment "Carnival of the Animals")
Movie
1999

On the Q.T.

Actor
Leo
Movie
1999

The Annihilation of Fish

Actor
Fish
Movie
1999

Will & GraceStream

Guest Star
Himself
Series
1998

MerlinStream

Actor
Mountain King
Miniseries
1998

The Lion King II: Simba's PrideStream

Voice
Mufasa
Movie
1998
67%

The View

Guest
Talk
1997

The Second Civil War

Actor
Jim Kalla
Movie
1997

What the Deaf Man Heard

Actor
Archibald Thacker
Movie
1997

Alone

Actor
Grey
Movie
1997

Gang Related

Actor
Arthur Baylor
Movie
1997

Casper: A Spirited Beginning

Voice
Kibosh
Movie
1997

Rebound -- The Legend of Earl The Goat Manigault

Actor
Dr. McDuffie
Movie
1996

Timepiece

Actor
Lawrence
Movie
1996

Good Luck

Actor
James Bing (uncredited)
Movie
1996

A Family ThingStream

Actor
Ray Murdock
Movie
1996
73%

Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child

Voice
Show
1995

Under One Roof

Actor
Neb Langston
Show
1995

Jefferson in Paris

Actor
Madison Hemings
Movie
1995

Cry, the Beloved CountryStream

Actor
Rev Stephen Kumalo
Movie
1995
85%

Who's in Rabbit's House?

Narrator
Movie
1995

Countdown to Freedom: 10 Days That Changed South Africa

Narrator
Movie
1995

Touched by an AngelStream

Guest Star
Series
1994

Les Chemins de l'égalité

Actor
Movie
1994

The Vernon Johns Story

Actor
Vernon Johns
Movie
1994

Confessions: Two Faces of Evil

Actor
Charles Lloyd
Movie
1994

Twilight Zone: Rod Serling's Lost Classics

Host
Movie
1994

Clean Slate

Actor
John Dolby
Movie
1994

The Lion KingStream

Voice
King Mufasa the Lion
Movie
1994
93%

Clear and Present DangerStream

Actor
Adm. James Greer
Movie
1994
81%

Africa: The Serengeti

Narrator
Movie
1994

FrasierStream

Guest Star
Norman Royster
Series
1993
95%

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanStream

Guest Star
Series
1993
86%

Homicide: Life on the Street

Guest Star
Series
1993
91%

SommersbyStream

Actor
Judge Barry Conrad Issacs
Movie
1993
63%

The SandlotStream

Actor
Mr. Mertle
Movie
1993
65%

Excessive Force

Actor
Jake
Movie
1993

Percy and Thunder

Actor
Percy
Movie
1993

The Meteor Man

Actor
Earnest Moses
Movie
1993

Hallelujah

Actor
Old Man Taylor
Movie
1993

Mad About YouStream

Guest Star
Himself
Series
1992

Mad About YouStream

Guest Voice
Himself
Series
1992

JFK Conspiracy

Host
Show
1992

Verdad Inconfesable

Actor
Movie
1992

Scorchers

Actor
Bear
Movie
1992

Patriot GamesStream

Actor
Adm. James Greer
Movie
1992
72%

SneakersStream

Actor
Bernard Abbott, NSA
Movie
1992
80%

Dreamrider

Actor
William Perry
Movie
1992

Pros & Cons

Actor
Gabriel Bird
Show
1991

The 12th Annual ACE Awards

Actor
Show
1991

Charlie RoseStream

Guest
Talk
1991

Convicts

Actor
Ben Johnson
Movie
1991

El Negro de la Casa Blanca

Actor
Himself
Movie
1991

True Identity

Self
Movie
1991

Law & OrderStream

Guest Star
Series
1990

Gabriel's Fire

Actor
Gabriel Bird
Show
1990

La Ambulancia de la Muerte

Actor
Movie
1990

Resurrección

Actor
Movie
1990

La Rebelión

Actor
Movie
1990

Rabia es la Respuesta

Actor
Movie
1990

The Hunt for Red OctoberStream

Actor
Admiral James Greer
Movie
1990
88%

By Dawn's Early LightStream

Actor
Alice
Movie
1990

Last Flight Out

Actor
Al Topping
Movie
1990

Heat Wave

Actor
Junius Johnson
Movie
1990

The Last Elephant

Actor
Inspector Nkuru
Movie
1990

The Ambulance

Actor
Lt. Spencer
Movie
1990

Grim Prairie Tales

Actor
Morrison
Movie
1990

Ivory Hunters

Actor
Inspector Nkuru
Movie
1990

The SimpsonsStream

Guest Voice
Narrator
Series
1989
85%

The Joan Rivers ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1989

Three Fugitives

Actor
Dugan
Movie
1989

Field of DreamsStream

Actor
Terence Mann
Movie
1989
88%

Best of the BestStream

Actor
Frank Couzo
Movie
1989
33%

Coming to AmericaStream

Actor
King Jaffe Joffer
Movie
1988
73%

Vamos a América

Actor
Movie
1988

Matewan

Actor
'Few Clothes' Johnson
Movie
1987

Pinochio and the Emperor of the Night

Voice
Movie
1987

Pinochio y el Emperador de la Noche

Voice
Movie
1987

Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night

Voice
Emperor of the Night
Movie
1987

Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of GoldStream

Actor
Umslopogaas
Movie
1987
40%

Jardins de pierres

Actor
Movie
1987

Gardens of StoneStream

Actor
Sgt. Maj."Goody"Nelson
Movie
1987
44%

My Little Girl

Actor
Ike Bailey
Movie
1986

Soul Man

Actor
Professor Banks
Movie
1986

Me and Mom

Actor
Lou Garfield
Show
1985

The Atlanta Child Murders

Actor
Major Walker
Show
1985

City Limits

Actor
Albert
Movie
1985

Highway to HeavenStream

Guest Star
Gabe Wilson
Series
1984

The Vegas Strip Wars

Actor
Jack Madrid
Movie
1984

Return of the JediStream

Voice
Darth Vader
Movie
1983
83%

Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp

Voice
Genie
Movie
1983

Conan the BarbarianStream

Actor
Thulsa Doom
Movie
1982
67%

The Flight of Dragons

Voice
Bryagh/Smrgol
Movie
1982

Demon Island

Actor
Frye
Movie
1981

The Bushido Blade

Actor
The Prisoner
Movie
1981

Blood Tide

Actor
Frye
Movie
1981

The Empire Strikes BackStream

Voice
Darth Vader (voice)
Movie
1980
95%

Paris

Actor
Detective Capt. Woodrow 'Woody' Paris
Show
1979

The Story of the Faithful Wookiee

Voice
Darth Vader
Show
1978

A Piece of the Action

Actor
Joshua Burke
Movie
1977

The Last Remake of Beau Geste

Actor
Sheikh
Movie
1977

The Greatest Thing That Almost Happened

Actor
Jr. Morris Bird
Movie
1977

Star WarsStream

Voice
Darth Vader (voice)
Movie
1977
93%

Exorcist II: The HereticStream

Actor
Older Kokumo
Movie
1977
11%

The Greatest

Actor
Malcolm X
Movie
1977

Bingo Long y los Ases Ambulantes

Actor
Movie
1976

Swashbuckler

Actor
Nick Debrett
Movie
1976

Deadly HeroStream

Actor
Rabbit
Movie
1976

The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor KingsStream

Actor
Leon Carter
Movie
1976
90%

The River Niger

Actor
Johnny Williams
Movie
1976

The UFO Incident

Actor
Barney Hill
Movie
1975

The Cay

Actor
Movie
1974

King Lear

Actor
King Lear
Movie
1974

Claudine

Actor
Roop
Movie
1974

Great PerformancesStream

Actor
Franchise
1972

Malcolm X

Narrator
Movie
1972

Masterpiece

Actor
Franchise
1971

The Man

Actor
Douglass Dilman
Movie
1971

The Great White Hope

Actor
Jack Jefferson
Movie
1970
43%

End of the Road

Actor
Doctor D
Movie
1970

Sesame StreetStream

Guest
Series
1969

Sesame StreetStream

Guest Star
Series
1969

That Show

Guest
Show
1968

The Dick Cavett ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1968

The Comedians

Actor
Dr. Magiot
Movie
1967

The Comedians In Africa

Self
Movie
1967

Tarzan

Guest Star
Chief Bella
Series
1966

Dr. StrangeloveStream

Actor
Lt. Lothar Zogg
Movie
1964
98%

East Side West Side

Guest Star
Series
1963

Dr. Kildare

Guest Star
Series
1961

Today

Guest
News
1952

What's My Line?Stream

Guest
Game Show
1950

News aboutJames Earl Jones